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After years of declines, the 11 weeks since President Trump was elected have seen something ‘different’ happen in continuing jobless claims.

 

Despite payrolls and ADP exuberance, the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits has risen at the fastest rate since 2008 post-election.

Probably just a coincidence.

As the debate about Donald Trump’s immigration order continues to divide the nation, a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll has found that more Americans participating in the survey approve of the President’s action than disapprove.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that suspended entry to the United States for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days; bans all refugees from entry for 120 days; and bars all Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely.

The poll, released on Tuesday, found that 49 percent of American adults either “somewhat” or “strongly” agree with the effort to enact stronger vetting. Meanwhile, 41 percent either “somewhat” or “strongly” disagree. The remaining 10 percent responded that they are unsure.

Predictably, the opinions were sharply divided along party lines, with 53 percent of Democrats strongly disagreeing, and 51 percent of Republicans strongly agreeing.

Additionally, the survey found that 31 percent of Americans feel “more safe” with the temporary restrictions, and just 26 percent feel “less safe.”

“Democrats were more than three times as likely as Republicans to say that the ‘US should continue to take in immigrants and refugees,’ and Republicans were more than three times as likely as Democrats to agree that ‘banning people from Muslim countries is necessary to prevent terrorism,” Reuters reports.

The poll was conducted from January 30-31, using responses from 453 Democrats and 478 Republicans.

 

Waivers have been granted to allow 872 refugees into the country this week by the US government for those who already went through the Obama Administration’s screening process and are now in transit.

The waivers were granted by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It is unclear what nationalities the recipients are, or if additional waivers will be granted.During a Tuesday briefing concerning the immigration orders, DHS Secretary John Kelly explained that the order is not a travel ban, but rather a pause to allow the government time to implement a new vetting system.

“This is not a travel ban, this is a temporary pause that allows us to better review the existing refugee and visa vetting system,” Kelly stated.

Kelly reiterated that the order is not a ban on Muslims, and that a change in the system is “long overdue,” and “strongly supported” by DHS officials.

“This is not, I repeat not, a ban on Muslims,” he said. “The Homeland Security mission is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, our values and religious liberty is one of our most fundamental and treasured values.”

Out of roughly a half a million people attempting to enter the US during the first three days of the order, 721 people were prevented from entering the United States, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan said.

Green card holders are permitted to board international flights to the US, although they will be subjected to additional screening upon their arrival.

During the briefing, Kelly was questioned about reports that some border patrol agents handcuffed detainees and tried to deport them, which the General flatly denied.

“No member of the Homeland Security team ignored a court order, nor would they ignore a court order,” Kelly said.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that suspended entry to the United States for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days; bans all refugees from entry for 120 days; and bars all Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely.

“Our job is to protect the homeland, these executive orders help do that,” Kelly said, noting that the order will be carried out “humanely” and “in accordance with the law.”

 

George Soros’s worst nightmare is about to become a reality in a key European country – France.

Francois Fillon, former French prime minister and member of Les Republicains political party, delivers his speech after partial results in the second round for the French center-right presidential primary election in Paris, France, November 27, 2016.

In an interview to Le Monde, the likeliest winner of the coming presidential election Francois Fillon called NATO’s promise in 2008 to take in Georgia and Ukraine as “irresponsible.” For Soros, who in his recent article saw Europe as a battleground for a Manichean fight between “democrats” and “dictators,” this must be a sure sign of “Europe falling under the influence of Vladimir Putin.”

In reality, Russia’s hopes for France are much more modest. They are nothing like the monsters which Mr. Soros creates in his imagination. Contrary to the fake generalizations in the mainstream press, Russia has been looking for understanding not so much in the so called far-right parties inside the EU countries as in the established “center” of European politics. Francois Fillon and his Gaullist party The Republicans represent exactly that – the moderate “right of center” in the French politics.

In the years that followed the worsening of relations with the West after the Kiev coup in 2014, Russia invited even the former president Nicolas Sarkozy, the main architect of the Western intervention in Libya, to several forums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The aim was not “to dominate Europe,” but to find in France a minimally sensible politician, who would not see Russia as a “clear and present danger” (a preferred expression of French Russophobes). Finding such politicians in France would set a stage for a dialogue – an antonym to Mr. Soros’s “color revolutions,” touted by the Western media and despised by the people in the “revolutionized” countries, from Syria and Serbia to Georgia and Ukraine.

This aim of a dialogue could not be achieved through the cruel and duplicitous Sarkozy, who only advised Russia to remove its countersanctions against Western foodstuffs “in a gesture of goodwill.” (Many a previous gesture of this kind from Russia did not deter NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders or any other hostile moves from the US and the EU.) But Russia suddenly found a lot of sympathy among the less elitist French politicians, who represented the pragmatic interests of French business, and not the imperial designs of “spreading democracy” around the globe.

In April 2016, the French parliament, the National Assembly, recommended the lifting of sanctions against Russia.

And now Francois Fillon, an unexpected winner of the primaries in the French rightist party The Republicans, is voicing similar ideas about EU-Russian relations in general. To an unbiased observer, these truths are simple enough to be coming out of the mouth of babes, but for the mainstream media they are dangerous heresies.

“Has the West always been a reliable partner for Russia?” Fillon asked himself rhetorically during a recent interview to Le Monde daily. “Didn’t we deceive Russia on Libya, on Kosovo, on the economic partnership with the EU?”

Despite his previous characterizations of Russia as a “dangerous” country, Fillon obviously went beyond the limits of the European mainstream on Russia when he called NATO’s invitation for Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO in future “irresponsible.”

“Why did we need to deploy anti-missile defense right near the Russian border? We made a lot of mistakes,” Fillon said in that same interview.

Instead of countering Mr. Fillon by arguments, French politicians and mainstream media prefers “trolling” him by alleging he has “personal connections” to Russia. So far, the only revealed connections were Mr. Fillon’s two visits to Russia in the framework of the Valdai Discussion Club (an organization bringing together people with all kinds of views on Russia, including some very critical ones). Also, Fillon and Putin were prime ministers of France and Russia respectively in 2008-2010 and as such they exchanged a few friendly messages. So much for “personal connections.”

This, however, did not deter Alain Juppe, Fillon’s rival during the primaries of the French right, to “warn” his adversary against “excess of vodka during his meetings with Putin.”

This cheap insult, however, did not play well with voters, who preferred Fillon to Juppe, making the former prime minister the main candidate of the center-right Republicans.

The lesson also did not go down well with Manuel Valls, the former Socialist prime minister, who is going through the leftist primaries right now in the hope of challenging Fillon later this year during the presidential election. Valls said he would “defend France against both the United States of Trump and Putin’s Russia” if elected the president.

Will Russophobia play out for Mr. Valls? There is a strong doubt about this. Valls has already lost the first tour of Socialist primaries to the little known “red and green” candidate Benoit Hamon.

“People like Valls just don’t understand that there is a certain fatigue about business as usual in Europe, and Russophobia is a part of the business as usual there,” said Gevorg Mirzayan, a specialist on foreign relations at the Institute of US and Canada in Moscow.

Hopefully, the Russophobic part of the business as usual will come to an end. Russia wants only as much as that – and legitimately.

In their first conversation since Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president, he and President of Russia Vladimir Putin discussed improving cooperation between their countries in the fight against terrorism and the importance of rebuilding bilateral trade and economic ties.

Moscow sees Washington as its most important partner in fighting international terrorism, Putin told Trump, according to the Kremlin’s official statements on the conversation. Both leaders reportedly supported the idea of improving “real coordination” between their nations in the fight against Daesh and other terrorist groups active in Syria.

Trump and Putin also expressed their willingness to work together to “develop and stabilize” US-Russia interaction and assured each other that their nations’ citizens view the other’s positively.

In addition, the two world leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the situation on the Korean peninsula, and the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, the Kremlin reports, as well as nonproliferation issues.

Trump and Putin also expressed their willingness to work together to “develop and stabilize” US-Russia interaction and assured each other that their nations’ citizens view the other’s positively.

In addition, the two world leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the situation on the Korean peninsula, and the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, the Kremlin reports, as well as nonproliferation issues.

Trump and Putin are expected to speak again to discuss possible dates and places for a face-to-face meeting.

After a White House official used the term ‘alternative facts’ to refute accusations of White House falsehoods, sales of the 1949 dystopian science fiction novel 1984 spiked to the top of Amazon.com’s best-seller list.

The exchange quickly became infamous: on NBC’s Sunday show “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd interviewed Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway about her colleague, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who offered “provable falsehoods” during his very first meeting with the press: namely, the size of the crowd that watched President Trump’s inauguration.

After some arguing, Conway said: “You’re saying it’s a falsehood… Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

“Wait a minute,” said Todd with an incredulous chuckle. “Alternative facts? Alternative facts?… Alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.”

Conway’s comment was widely derided by Trump opponents, and many claimed that the phrase “alternative facts” sounded like a comment from the oppressive police state known as Big Brother in Orwell’s famous novel.

That novel contains the line, “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” Many compared this to Spicer”s comments about the inauguration, despite photographs clearly demonstrating fewer attendees to Trump’s inauguration than to Obama’s eight years prior.

In 1984, society is controlled by a totalitarian government that watches nearly every aspect of human life. The main character, Winston Smith, is a minor bureaucrat with the Ministry of Truth whose job is to rewrite historical events to fit Big Brother’s version of events, including erasing all evidence that certain people ever existed.

A major theme of the novel is Big Brother’s manipulation of the truth to better suit the policies of the authoritarian state. Facts and reality are irrelevant, and only what Big Brother says is true matters. The novel coins many terms to describe this behavior, including “goodthink” (thought approved by Big Brother), and its opposite, “thoughtcrime.”

Orwell, a democratic socialist, was distressed by atrocities committed by both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, and believed the western world was beginning to move down a similar path. Orwell died shortly after the book’s publication. 1984 is frequently read in the west by high school students, making it one of the most popular novels of the 20th century.

Spikes in 1984’s popularity often follow moments of distrust in the government. Sales increased significantly following the 2013 leak of NSA documents from Edward Snowden and others.

In the west, it has become common to compare governments the author dislikes to Orwell’s worst-case-scenario. A 2014 Forbes story had the headline, “Obama’s Corruption of the English Language Comes Right From Orwell’s ‘1984.’” A 2002 article from SFGate was entitled “Learning to love Big Brother / George W. Bush channels George Orwell.”

By Steve Lendman

First Amendment rights are too precious to lose. Without them, all others are at risk.

 On January 20, six independent journalists were arrested in Washington for doing their jobs – covering protests during Trump’s inauguration.
They committed no crimes, yet face possible prosecution and imprisonment. The affected journalists include documentary producer Jack Keller, independent photojournalist Shay Horse, independent journalist Matt Hopard, free lance reporter Aaron Cantu, Vocativ journalist Evan Enger, and RT America’s Alexander Rubinstein.
RT International reported the story, explaining Rubenstein was wrongfully charged with inciting a riot. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and can be fined as much as $25,000. RT’s press office blasted what happened, issuing a statement, saying:

“The arrest and subsequent felony rioting charge against our reporter, Alexander Rubinstein, simply for doing his job – covering inauguration protests in Washington DC – is an absolute outrage.”
“Such acts represent an egregious violation of journalistic freedom, and are particularly disheartening to witness in the country that positions itself as the global champion of free press.”
“RT will apply the full weight of its legal team in support of our journalist and we are confident that a thorough review by the US Attorney’s office will confirm that Alexander, who wore his press credentials at all times, was wrongfully arrested.”
Brutalizing protesters is commonplace in US cities, notably against global justice, anti-war, and Occupy Wall Street activists in recent years – flagrantly violating constitutional and international law.
On inauguration day, police made over 200 arrests. A DC National Lawyers’ Guild statement on its web site said police “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone.”
office blasted what happened, issuing a statement, saying:

“The arrest and subsequent felony rioting charge against our reporter, Alexander Rubinstein, simply for doing his job – covering inauguration protests in Washington DC – is an absolute outrage.”
“Such acts represent an egregious violation of journalistic freedom, and are particularly disheartening to witness in the country that positions itself as the global champion of free press.”
“RT will apply the full weight of its legal team in support of our journalist and we are confident that a thorough review by the US Attorney’s office will confirm that Alexander, who wore his press credentials at all times, was wrongfully arrested.”
Brutalizing protesters is commonplace in US cities, notably against global justice, anti-war, and Occupy Wall Street activists in recent years – flagrantly violating constitutional and international law.
On inauguration day, police made over 200 arrests. A DC National Lawyers’ Guild statement on its web site said police “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone.”
“These illegal acts are clearly designed to chill the speech of protesters engaging in First Amendment activity.” They reflect how police states operate.“These illegal acts are clearly designed to chill the speech of protesters engaging in First Amendment activity.” They reflect how police states operate.